Category: AIS

10

Testing Vesper Cortex M1: excellent AIS, monitoring, and much more in one box

What a box! If possible, I’d expand the headline to “excellent AIS transceiver, dual antenna splitter, high-performance GNSS, AIS display and collision avoidance, NMEA 0183 & 2000 data multiplexing, nav app WiFi support, anchor watch, and general off-boat monitoring.” And even that long list leaves out the powerful VHF radio that’s also inside the M1 hub, accessible with the innovative multifunction Cortex handsets, and understandably the most prominent feature in Vesper’s marketing. But that’s my plan for this review…

2

Quark-Elec A026: AIS receiver with WiFi, GPS, and NMEA 0183 multiplexing

Quark-Elec offers quite an array of problem-solving marine electronic devices. I’ve been testing their A026 AIS receiver with built-in GPS; data output via WiFi, USB, or NMEA 0183; plus an 0183 input that can be multiplexed into its output stream. This little box could be the perfect answer for day sailors, delivery captains, and any boater looking for an easy way to get AIS target and GPS data to a navigation app running on a tablet or phone, or to a PC or MFD. But, how does it perform?

12

Searching for a quality VHF/AIS combo antenna, Shakespeare 6500-WB found

A high-quality combination VHF and AIS antenna was on Gizmo’s shopping list this summer, even though I knew that it’s challenging to do both really well. The USCG Navigation Center spectrum diagram above tells the story (as does their detailed U.S. VHF Channel list): The marine VHF audio channels cluster around 157 MHz while the two main AIS channels are up at 162 MHz. That’s why dedicated VHF and AIS antennas are optimized differently…

9

Presenting Panbo Podcast

Pardon the alliteration, but I’m pretty excited to debut the Panbo Podcast. This occasional series will feature conversations with important members of the marine electronics industry. Our first episode is a conversation with Vesper’s CTO, Carl Omundsen, about the launch of Vesper’s Cortex VHF radio, AIS transceiver, and boat monitoring product.

8

AIS fishing net buoys, the wrong way & the right way

Sorry to report that completely illegal AIS fishing net buoys are still for sale on eBay, and thus there may be strings of them still out in the oceans confusing cruisers and other mariners. I thoroughly understand how AIS buoys could help commercial fishermen protect their assets and income, but these devices look like regular AIS vessel targets while further misusing the technology in ways that can mess up real boat and ship AIS transmissions in the area…

9

Simrad RS40-B, the first VHF radio with AIS transceiver

AIS and VHF voice radios operate in the same frequency band, so it’s a natural step to combine the two functions into one device. But, combining a VHF radio and AIS transceiver has proved difficult. Although other manufacturers have tried, Simrad and B&G are the first to make it through approvals and ship radios to boaters. But how does the radio perform in the real world and is this a good choice for all your VHF communications needs?

3

Class B AIS SO & CS transmit rates, truth vs confusion

Don’t always believe what you read, even on Panbo, and even when it’s sourced from the U.S. Coast Guard’s normally authoritative NavCen website! I was recently quite humbled to realize that the uncorrected version of the table above does not make sense with the rest of my 2015 entry about then-new Class B/SO AIS, and that the mistakes may have been confusing skippers choosing an AIS transceiver ever since. Deciding between CS and SO is still an issue, so let’s look closely at the real reporting rate differences…

8

Panbo test fleet adds a fast outboard: Gizmo Junior

I’m generally content to operate at trawler speeds these days, on and off the water. But — boy, oh, boy — taking on a new boat has definitely brought out the kid in me. Though it was only a few weeks ago when I finally realized that rebuilding the 14-foot power cat (and original Gizmo) is not in my future, the new plan has already hosted some electronics testing that would have been much more difficult with the 37-foot Gizmo, and it’s a different kind of pleasure on the water. Say hello to Gizmo Junior…